Rice Paddy Prone (aka Squatting)

The squatting position is not necessarily an orthodox shooting position.  I don’t think you’ll see it as a leg of a rifle competition (not that I would know).  I’m including it in my overview of orthodox positions because I think it should be in every rifleman’s repertoire.

Offhand is fast.  Prone is accurate.  Sitting is pretty accurate- generally not as accurate as prone, but not fast.  Kneeling is pretty fast, but not very accurate.  Squatting may represent the golden mean.  As screwed up as that sentence may read out of context, I think it’s true.

Essentially what the squatting position does is fix what is wrong with the kneeling position; it supports the firing side elbow.  It boosts stability significantly without slowing things down appreciably, if at all.

To assume rice paddy prone from facing squarely to the target, angle your firing side away from the target 30°-45°, feet about shoulder with apart.  Basically the same ready position to get into offhand or kneeling.


Now, keeping your heels and the soles of your feet in firm contact with terra firma, drop to a squatting position (hence the name of the position).


Next, place the flat of both arms on their appropriate knees (that means don’t cross them) and fire if necessary.

I find that the easiest way to orient the upper body in relation to the lower is simply to place the flat of both arms on the knees.  Really not much to it.  This is very similar to open leg sitting in that respect.  I would rather you click than I type, so if you’d like an elaboration, read or re-read that article.

One problem that I have with rice paddy prone is that is does a number on my knees to practice it for any length of time.  This pertains mostly to dry fire.  I really don’t have a problem shooting groups in this position.  A field shot would be no problem.  The main thing to work out is where your NPA is going to land.  Just watch your knees while you figure that out.

To change your NPA in squatting for windage you can move your lead foot in the direction you would like the muzzle to go.  For micro windage changes, you can rotate your lead foot in the direction you want the muzzle to go.  Changes can be made in the same (but opposite) manner with your rear foot, HOWEVER, the changes you make with your rear leg may not have as much, or any effect.  This is due to a thing called flexibility.  Opening your firing side may not cause your support side to move.  The structural bias is to the support side, because again, we aren’t a bipod.  Your support arm sits on you support leg and is directly under the rifle.  That’s why moving the support side foot will move your NPA and moving your firing side foot may move your NPA.  Mystery solved.

To adjust for elevation, follow the rules for offhand.  You can always use the old moving the hand on the forend trick: farther away lowers your NPA, closer raises it.  The other way is to adjust the width of your feet: wider is higher, closer is lower.

Some people complain that it knocks them on their duff to fire a rifle from the squatting position.  Unless you’ve got a dinosaur gun, there’s some other problem if your falling down.  If you’re my “challenged” reader, just keep working, or email me and we’ll get you some “special” attention.

I tested this position for you from 300 yards like I did with the sitting positions.


This equal about 3.6 MOA.  I would rather see the group without the 2 outliers on the right.  Guess I’ll need to practice a bit.

In comparison to the collective sitting positions, I think squatting has the potential to be just as accurate.  There is an inherent volatility in the position that causes things like the 2 shots on the right to happen.  I think that could be overcome with some serious practice.  In terms of speed, it’s just faster.  There are fewer steps, so I don’t think that there’s a way to make sitting as fast, assuming the shooter worked at both positions.

4 thoughts on “Rice Paddy Prone (aka Squatting)

  1. Sitting position was/is the hardest position for me…at both Appleseeds, where my highest Garand score was a shameful 168, sitting position always sabatoged my scores. But that was before I lost weight and got in shape for the coming “troubles”. I wonder if they will let me substitute Rice Paddy for sitting?

    Thanks for your efforts…very helpful.

    • It depends on the Shoot Boss whether they will let you substitute squatting for sitting.

      One of the problems concerning sitting at Appleseeds is that they’re so crunched for time to fit in everything. Sometimes sitting position takes a back seat.

      What will help you the most is probably dry fire from a good sitting position. I like crossed ankle http://artoftherifle.blogspot.com/2011/09/crossed-ankle-sitting.html
      but most people prefer crossed leg http://artoftherifle.blogspot.com/2011/09/cross-legged-sitting.html

      It can take a few days of dry firing everyday until the position feels like it starts to “work”.

      Since the AQT is a game, make sure that you get everything (your mags, your mat, etc…) set up so you are comfortable and can reach everything without breaking position, including your elbows. While you’re in prep, find a spot on your mat to “index” your position so that you’re close to NPA right when you get into position.

      Dry fire is very important for your shooting. In terms of reinforcing fundamentals it is probably more useful (to a degree anyway) than live fire.

      Work just a little bit everyday. If you don’t have time to physically practice, do some visualization. 210 is just a starting point. Now that you’re in shape, you should have no problem.

  2. First of all, thank you for the excellent guides.

    Now the question:
    How is the proper position of the support hand in squat and kneeling positions? Should I strive for “under barrel” elbow as in offhand, or is it acceptable to handle the rifle more sideways with support elbow wide off? When I settle into NPA, my support arm elbow tends to open up (actually down and front, literally), yet the stability is not bad so I am puzzled whether is it wrong or not.

    • Oldrich,

      The standard is to keep the elbow under the rifle, which is what I do. Could it be that your body needs to be turned away from the target a bit more? Also, if your elbow is moving forward, does that mean that you are using some tension to keep it near to you when you initially take the position, and that it relaxes away from you? I’m just trying to reverse engineer your position based on your description.

      The other side of the coin is that sometimes a different technique will work just as well or better. I think it’s generally

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